Tuesday, January 31, 2006

10 Q's with DIDGE DIGITAL (Ex-FM)

Didge Digital was the keyboards player with FM during the band's 80's heyday when they released such AOR/melodic rock classics as 'Indiscreet' & 'Tough It Out' before Didge left in 1990 and the band took a more blues rock direction. Didge himslef now fronts an ELP tribute band Black Moon...

1. What are you currently up to?

-Just done some gigs,they were brilliant,and now making a demo CD for promoters,agencies etc.......then a video/DVD.

2. You are now fronting an ELP tribute band. How did that come about and do you receat the full Keith Emerson experience with knives in keyboards?

Its something that I've wanted to do for years - finally got it off the ground!- I used to do the organ throwing/knife thing when I was
17 years old - my back won't allow it anymore !!! So I just get down to the serious playing and ribbon controller gyrations !! oops not forgetting the singing as well.

3. What have been the highlights/lowlights of your career to date?

Well,I suppose FM was THE highlight - but Ive done so many things - There's definately a few dodgy bands as well! Mind you,my new band is quite a highlight for me as well (but its the hardest thing I've ever done)

4. What have you been up to since you left FM?

Doing gigs/paying the bills just like everyone else - went solo in 2000 - so now I suppose I'm a vocal/keyboard artiste and of course I've got the band now !! I did a short spell with Pink Floyd band "Off The Wall".

5. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

London Astoria - magic night ! The early Marquee gigs - historical venue - Hammersmith Odeon - too many to mention.

6. FM – How did you come to join the band? Did you have much input in the songwriting?

I was originally just sessioning on the demos and showcases,and when the band got a deal,they asked me if I wanted to join! I co-wrote a few of the songs - but my main input was on the keys!

7. Why do you think FM never broke the US given that they had the AOR sound so beloved in the US at that time?

I know - its a real puzzle, I think that maybe internal company politics in Sony UK and USA were a problem/or the US doesn't like to import UK bands (but it loves to export US bands everywhere) who knows ??? Conspiracy theories abound !!!!!!!

8. How did you come to leave the band? Were you approached by other bands to join them?

I'd had enough - the band had peaked - there was no where left to go. I didn't leave to join another band though!

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Er....what's spare time.......if I get any,its spent with my girlfriend Carolyn, or son Lewis (who is getting rather good on the

10. Message to your fans...

Love you all.........check out the website....loads of info - FM and Black Moon (ELP band).

Monday, January 30, 2006

WILL SMITH – Misplaced Childhood tour

Soho Theatre, London Friday 27th January 2006

No not the US actor Will Smith but instead a much more talented UK comedian who also happens to be a massive fan of all things Marillion and Fish, hence the title of the show. His one man show has already been a hit at last year’s Edinburgh festival and now he is taking it to the road – extremely good timing as Fish is also currently on his Return to Childhood tour. Back to Will Smith and the idea behind the show is to look at growing up back in 1985 when Marillion’s ‘Misplaced Childhood’ first came out with today’s children growing up. Will Smith tackles this with ease and he is genuinely very funny especially when he starts to look at today’s youth and their obsession with sex, fighting and street slang. He also reflects on his teenage years and how his band never quite made it, which he blames on fellow Jersey based rock band of the time Outlaw (who look like a badly dressed Saxon circa 1986). In fact the lead singer of Outlaw comes in for some very heavy abuse for a) stealing the girl of his dreams and b) being crap.
Interspersed with this is his meeting with his hero Fish and the resulting interview. Fish did work with Will Smith on this show and he is on top form in the interview part as Will Smith manages to blag his way into his hero’s home (using the vague wording he works for Classic Rock magazine but when questioned by Fish admits he just likes classic rock) and chaos ensues. All the obsessive fan behaviour is on display including his attempt to read his lyrics to Fish and wheeling out loads of rarities for signing.
It is a very entertaining and enjoyable show that mixes both nostalgia and some wry observations on the modern youth. Definitely worth catching if you like Marillion and/or a damn fine night of comedy.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Stripes Bar, Brentord FC Friday 20th January 2006

A three band bill with a covers band Kross Fire (eek!) opening the night. They played a solid if unspectacular set although a riff heavy version of the Buggles hit 'Video Killed the Radio Star' was highlight. I like covers bands as much as Dogs D'Amour (at least Dogs can pen their own tunes!) so I am maybe not the best person to review them...
Growing Old Disgracefully were appearing as a two piece in full acoustic mode and were damn fine. 'Cry Freedom' works well in an acoustic setting whilst 'Whisky and Westminster' had added topicality thanks to Charles Kennedy's recent alcohol admission. Sacred Heart's Paul Stead joined in on 'Searchin'. Sound wise you can hear bits of Lynyrd Skynyrd and also XTC in their quirkier moments. Be interrsting to see how the band sound in electric mode as acoustically they have it just about nailed.
Sacred Heart have been getting better each time I see them live (this is the fifth time I think) and tonight's set is dominated by new material due on their new album due later this year. The new songs like 'Promise' and 'Afraid' have a much harder edge to them - latter day TNT to these ears. Even my all time fave by the band 'Lost' has been revamped with harder edged guitar parts. 'Rock 'n' Roll Roll Away' is a stomp yer feet anthem that Slade never wrote, whilst 'N.Y.C' would put a smile on any lover of meloidc hard rock. The band seem to excel at penning catchy, hard rock tunes that keep a modern air avout them but still tip a nod to the classic bands like TNT, Europe and Warrant. I've said it before and will say it again this band has to be seem live to fully appreaciate them.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Band website

If you are a music fan with wide and eclectic tastes like myself then MySpace is a wonderful beast and thanks to this website I have discovered the musical delights of Five Star Iris. Bar the last track (which is still listenable) on this six track CD they are all wonderful, top notch pop rockers. `Day In The Sun' would be a hit single no problems with decent airplay, whilst `Still With You'
features sublime vocals and the band's almost trademark chiming guitars mixed with some electronic sampling. They plough their own furrow musically although the early work of Collective Soul and latter day Cheap Trick would be good comparisons.
Go check them out on MySapce and then get this CD. I gurantee you will love the tunes on here if you like well crafted pop rock tunes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Forget Download and its balck clothed, pierced masses this is the real deal... Having witnessed MOR in 1985, 1986, 1988 & 1990 I hope to get along to this one.



Monsters of Rock, the legendary one-day hard rock festival which was born in 1980 on the crest of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, returns to the UK festival calendar on June 3rd 2006 at Milton Keynes Bowl. Tickets, priced £38.50, are on sale from January 20th from all usual agents, and via credit card on 0870 400 0688. A dedicated coach service hotline has also been set up on 0870 166 0430. www.getLIVE.co.uk.

Monsters Of Rock is synonymous with the very cream of hard rock and heavy metal. Acts such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Dio, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Metallica, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Status Quo, Van Halen, Whitesnake and ZZ Top have all graced the Monsters’ stage over the years.

Monsters Of Rock 2006, promoted by Live Nation, marks the welcome return of the Daddy of all one-day Heavy Metal festivals to the rock music calendar. While hard rock has never gone away, it has to be said that interest in heavy music’s glorious heritage has never been more intense, with new young rock fans eager to check out legendary colourful giants of hard rock and heavy metal such as Deep Purple and Alice Cooper.

Monsters Of Rock will be headlined by hard rock pioneers Deep Purple, currently being lauded for their latest studio album ‘Rapture Of The Deep’. The self-proclaimed ‘heaviest of heavy rock bands’, have also just had their ‘Best Of’ Three-CD set ‘The Platinum Collection’ voted ‘Collection Of The Year’ by the readers of Classic Rock Magazine, who also awarded the band their inaugural ‘Classic Album’ award for 1970’s ‘In Rock’ opus at their debut awards ceremony in October 2005 at London’s Café De Paris. Classic Rock Magazine and Planet Rock Radio are co-promoting / sponsoring Monsters Of Rock. Expect a plethora of mega-hits, from ‘Smoke On The Water’ to ‘Child In Time’ and ‘Black Night’.

Ian Gillan comments that “For Deep Purple to headline the return of the mighty Monsters of Rock Festival in 2006 is somewhat appropriate, as this brings two venerable giants of hard rock together for the first time. I have great memories of playing the Monsters of Rock as a solo artist back in 1982, and am very much looking forward to Deep Purple’s debut appearance.”

Special Guest is Alice Cooper, who has just released his new ‘Dirty Diamonds’ album and sold out a massive UK Arena tour. The opening lines of his official biography on alicecooper.com say it all:-

“30 albums and some of the most famous rock songs ever recorded, you’d think Alice Cooper’s demons would’ve been conquered by now—or maybe locked in a cage and fed undercooked meat. But the man who changed the course of rock music in the ‘70s with bloody guillotines, sparking electric chairs, slimy boa constrictors, and a little blood and eyeliner still has more to slay in 2005. Alice Cooper is master at re-inventing himself, shedding his skin like one of his snakes to become everything from a mascara’d grave robber to a leather-wrapped street hooligan, a film noir detective, insane asylum honor student, and nihilistic dada-ist

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CD winners!

Well done to Womble in the UK who wins the FM CD and Bart in Belgium who wins the Change of Heart & Seventh Key CD's.
More goodies to win soon!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Rising Stars - LION'S SHARE


What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

We are currently writhing songs for our 5th album.

Brief history of how you got into the music business and the style of music you play…

Lion' s Share released the first album in 1995 and have since released another 3 CD's. We've toured Europe and Scandinavia with bands like Manowar, DIO, Motörhead, Saxon, Dee Snider, Iced Earth, Nevermore, U.D.O. plus done a bunch of festivals with Deep Purple, Scorpions, In Flames, Candlemass, David Lee Roth, DIO, HammerFall, Manowar and many more... Right now the lineup is: Lars Chriss - guitar (original member and founder), plus the new guys Patrik Johansson - vocals (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights, Space Odyssey), and Sampo Axelsson - bass (Glenn Hughes, Crawley).

I guess we play classic or as they say nowadays "old school" metal. We like melody and heavy riffing and bands like Megadeth, Black Sabbath , DIO, KISS, Judas Priest, Accept, Queensryche, Rush, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Iommi, Mars Volta, Disturbed, In Flames, Soilwork, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson and many more....

How do you hope to get heard above all the other bands and singers vying for attention out there?

We just keep our fingers crossed I guess...haha. No, seriously we need to continue touring and hopefully our fans will help out in any way they can as well.

How do you view the current live scene in the US as regards new bands getting exposure?

Our main markets are Europe and Asia, but hopefully our style of metal will continue to grow in the US. I doubt that it will ever be as big as in the 80's, but then again you never know...

How has the Internet helped spread the word about the band? Do you think downloading is helping or killing music?

It's helping music in general, but not the sales of CD's.

I'm sure some potential LS buyers downloaded or burnt a copy instead of buying it. On the other hand it's a great and for the most part free promotion tool. We've gotten especially a lot of US fans through the internet. For some reason the support from USA has always been good even though we've never been there...

What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?

I admire many but KISS and Black Sabbath (especially with Dio), are my two favorite bands.

What have been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

I guess the month we did with DIO playing big hockey rinks is gonna be hard to top when it comes to highlights. Ronnie is my fave singer of all time and to be able to hang out with him everyday (what a nice person he is BTW!!!) was beyond anything I could dream of growing up and blasting his music on my bedroom stereo. Our fist tour with Saxon was really cool as well. Lowpoint must be working with some of the labels we've been signed to.

What ideally would you like to achieve ideally by this time next year?

Having the new CD ready?

What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll moment you have had so far?

It's been a couple, but having Lemmy personally making me my first whiskey/cola ever and then sing the whole new MH album to just the backgrounds (on a CD), just me and him in the room is pretty Rock'n'Roll to me...

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

If you go to our web site www.lionsshare.org there's a link section with some suggestions for stores. Our merchandise section also includes all our albums. Another place these days is of course I-tunes...

Message to your fans...

Thanx to you all for your patience and support!!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

10 Q's wth vocalist Bobby Kimball (TOTO)

A real honour as a lifelong Toto fan and I urge you to buy their excellent new album (see review below) as you won't be disppointed!

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

I am currently in the process of learning the parts I'll be singing on the Falling In Between Tour for 2006. We've all been very busy lately with outside projects and last minute things before touring. Of course we've been locked in 'the hole' at the studio, recording for about 10 months on the CD, so lots of things that didn't get done during that time are now on the plate and need to be handled.

2. Could you take us through the ideas behind the songs on the excellent new album Falling In Between

Each song has it's own character level, but I can say that this is a band-written CD, one of the first of it's kind to my knowledge with Toto. The whole concept of the CD was to start with no preconceived notions and jam our way through the tracks on pro-tools until we had something satisfactory to write melodies and lyrics to, then record everything in a conventional manner until we were satisfied with it. Then one of a few of us who write lyrics would take the track home and hammer out lyrics until we had a general idea of what the song should be about. Then, there was the process of everyone lending a hand to finalize these ideas into a version of lyrics that suited everyone's taste. Each song had several renderings and mostly were about whatever was happening at the time the songs were written.

3. How did the band hook-up with Greg Philligannes? What has he bought musically to the band do you think?

Some of us have known Greg for over 25 years. I've known of him about that long, but I met him for the first time in 2001, when he was playing with Eric Clapton. We were the starting act at a concert in Mexico City for about 55,000 people. Greg is a mountain of talent. He not only is one of the best keyboardists, but his vocal power is very apparent on this CD. He's singing with me on the title track of the CD. He's brought, not only these talents to the front, but an unequaled energy and stage performance. All of this, and he's a great guy and a friend.

4. What sort of set can fans expect on the upcoming tour? Touring wise will David Paich be touring?

We're still in the process of working out the set-list at the moment. We have to figure what will work best 'live'. Some songs are much better on the CD than they turn out live. Logistically, we'll pick the one's that translate to the stage best. We have a lot of songs to add to the set now, and I know the new material will be at the forefront of the tour for 2006. Of course, you can expect the hits we always have to play, as we have an aversion to rotten eggs being thrown our way.

David will not be touring with us on the upcoming tour. I expect he will join us when we play around LA, but he's letting Greg take the reigns for the time-being. Since they are a mirror image of each other on the keyboard, it's not such a stretch for him to do this, and it's fine with the guys in the band. We only want to make the music as close to the CD as possible, and Greg has allowed that possibility for us. I am sure when you see him, there will be very few, if any, complaints.

5. You are signed to Frontiers who seem to be picking-up many fellow greats like Journey and Styx. Is this purely a one-off deal and what made the band decide to sign with Frontiers?

 Frontiers came to us with the best offer, not only financially, but with great energy to promote and get the name Toto back in the limelight, both in our best markets like Europe and Japan, and our weakest market, the USA. We have big plans to make ourselves revitalized in our home country this year. We've hired a new agency to get the ball moving for us here, and so far, they've shown themselves to be worthy of our effort and time. We feel very confident about our chances in the USA this year with the new CD and agency.

6. Have you any plans to follow-up your last solo album? Any other artists/bands you would like to work with in the future?

I have material for about 2 solo CDs at the moment. However, the time it takes to record and polish off a CD has not been in the cards for me lately. I've been working on the Toto CD (our most important element). I'll get to it when the time is right.

7. Which song(s) do you enjoy singing most live and why? Is there any one song that sums up Toto for you?

That's a very tough question, as any of the songs I do with Toto could easily be my favorite. It's that kind of band. I do have a few that elevate my blood pressure more than others. They would have to be songs like Cruel, Make Believe, White Sister, Girl Goodbye.etc.

I don't think any one song sums up Toto to anyone. With the firepower this band has musically, we're a shotgun of material and musical ability. Hard to put a finger on one song to say it all about this band.

8. What have been the highlights/lowlights of your career to date?

Getting into the band would have to be the highlinght (with a close second being the 1983 Grammys)

Being asked to leave the band in 1984 would definitely be the 'lowlight'.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I've recently become quite fond of raising and breeding Koi Fish. We have about 1500 of them at the moment. They're very gentle and give lots of pleasure. They have a calming effect on people and they're beautiful.

I like to write and record music as often as I can, and I write a lot with Jason Scheff from the band Chicago. We've been writing together for about 5 years.

10. Message to your fans...

 If you've never experienced Toto Live in concert, this is the year to get to that. I think with the new CD, Falling In Between, you'll see us at our very best ever. I think you'll get the point when you hear the CD. We've taken all of our best-of-our-best and put it all onto this CD. See you all soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

TOTO ‘Falling In Between’ Frontiers (2006)


Toto are back with possibly their best album since the days of ‘The Seventh One’. In fact the vocalist on that album, Joseph Williams, makes a welcome return on one song plus long term regulars Steve Porcaro and Lenny Castro are all present and correct. There is also a new kid in town – Greg Phillinganes (Eric Clapton/Stevie Wonder) who handles keyboards and lead vocals on some tracks.

The music is quite frankly superb ranging from the solid melodic rock of ‘King Of The World’ to the current airplay pick ‘Bottom of Your Soul’, which features a duet between Steve Lukather and former vocalist Joseph Williams – simply wonderful. ‘Dying On My Feet’ sees the band veer off into soul/jazz territory but the strong backbeat keeps the music firmly at the end of listenable jazz rock in my book! ‘Hooked’ takes a progressive route with plenty of synths and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson guesting on flute. One of the simplest tracks ‘Simple Life’ turns out to be a highlight as Steve Lukather takes the mic accompanied by only piano and percussion. This is a real ‘shivers down the spine’ song. The other real stand out track is ‘Spiritual Man’ with David Paich, Bobby Kimaball (he is on fine form) and Greg Phillinganes all sharing lead vocals. It is an epic slow burning ballad that Toto does so well complete with some soulful sax courtesy of Tom Scott.

Toto have excelled themselves on here bringing in all musical styles into the mix from AOR to gospel via soul and heartfelt balladry. As a longstanding fan (I came in on their ‘Isolation’ album back in 1984) you couldn’t ask for more from the band and what really sets this apart is the quality of the songs which ahs not always been present on the band’s last few releases.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Rising Star - JO McCAFFERTY

Scottish based singer/songwriter Jo McCafferty has released three albums to date. Check out here MySpace site for a taster of her rather good tunes...

Q What are you currently up to?

A. I am currently putting a band together to record my next album, which will be non-acoustic for a change. I have written most of the material for it and am working on the arrangements.

Q. How would you describe your style of music to a new listener?

A. The songs are stories set to music, fairly biographical. It's a cross between Joni Mitchell, Melanie, Suzanne Vega, Hazel O Connor and Tanita Tikaram I guess! (That's what other people have said anyway).

Q. How do you hope to get heard above all the other bands and singers vying for attention out there?

A. By ridiculous PR stunts. Only joking. To be honest I kind of like where I am right now, I'm not famous but i get to do what I want to do. I guess with more backing, say from a label, I could do more tours, but I don't intend to chase longingly after labels. I prefer to just get on with it all myself.

Q. How do you view the current live scene in the UK as regards new bands getting exposure?

A. It depends on what the new bands it trying to do. If they are just looking for a record deal then I guess most bands will be hard pushed. If they are looking to gig and gain experiences then there are loads of great venues all over the UK.

Q. How has the Internet helped spread the word about you?
Do you think downloading is helping or killing music?
A. I now have fans in the States, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, France, Germany and Italy that I wouldn't have had without the net.
I think downloading is good for musicians and not so good for major corporations, unless they've played their cards right. The increased access to new music is brilliant for unsigned bands, and more and more people spend time searching out new music online rather than being spoon fed by the media.

Q. What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?
A. Nine Inch Nails. I think the music is amazing. I am not sure it is particularly a musical influence though. Danny Elfman is so talented it's almost painful. I am currently particularly impressed by Kaiser Chiefs.

Q What have been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?
A. Highlight, touring the States. Lowpoint, playing a gig where all the audience were so drunk they just weren't listening. One member of the audience was receiving oral pleasure while I was singing. I cut the show short...

Q What ideally would you like to achieve ideally by this time next year?

A Ideally I would like to get this album in the charts, do a world tour and buy a small island...

Q. What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll moment you have had so far?

A. Hmm I'm not so rock and roll. I think being very drunk and then singing BV's at the Albert Hall was quite amusing. I got lost back stage and rambled at Nick Hancock who I then found out was somebody famous. Oops...

Q. What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

A. I have 3 albums available at the moment, they are available from my website www.jomccafferty.com . I think there may also be some on eBay...

Message to your fans...
Keep buying albums!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

THE ALARM MMVI ‘Under Attack’ EMI/Liberty (2006)


The Alarm are back with another superb album full of rousing anthems and more mellow acoustic moments. After the comeback success of ‘In The Popppyfields’ which included the band’s hit single ’45 RPM’, the band are back on their old label EMI. It maybe just Mike Peters remaining from the 80’s line-up but then he is the Alarm really. The success of this and the predecessor’s songs are the call-to-arms anthems like ‘Without A Fight’ and the simply superb ‘Superchannel’ – the latter won’t leave your head after just one play it is that catchy! ‘Raindown’ is one of the mid tempo meets ballads that the Alarm do so well and the fade out harmonies on this one are spine tingling. Again the production has a live feel and if anything the guitars are more to the fore this time around. Other highlights include ‘Zero’ and ‘Cease and Desist’.

Another top notch album from the band with Mike Peters on fine vocal and song writing form. Another album of the year methinks!

Rising Star - Five Star Iris

A damn fine rock band for those who like bands like the excellent Collective Soul. Over to band member Alan Schaefer...

What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

playing shows and working on a new full length album

Brief history of how you got into the music business and the style of music you play…

as with many others, the business chose me. i didn't choose it. in terms of style...we are a song oriented rock band trying to create music of enduring substance

How do you hope to get heard above all the other bands and singers vying for attention out there?

at shows and online we are just trying to connect with one person at a time

How do you view the current live scene in the US as regards new bands getting exposure?

there are great new avenues popping all the time. there is still a lot of crap for music consumers to sort through which makes it tough at times.

How has the Internet helped spread the word about the band? Do you think downloading is helping or killing music?

the internet has helped a great deal. we have solid fans from all over the world. that wouldn't be possible without the internet. i think downloading is helping consumers find more great music and it's helping some bands gain exposure. at the same time, it is really really hurting songwriters, bands, managers and labels in terms of diminishing royalty checks and sales.

What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?

U2 is a huge influence musically. great band continuing to make great music while doing things to make the world better. Ed Roland of Collective Soul has also been a big influence/inspiration in terms of my songwriting.

What have been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

highlights have been playing Europe twice. winning the rock category for the 2005 UK songwriting contest as well as playing Iceland, Spain, Italy were highpoints. can't really recall any specific lowpoint.

What ideally would you like to achieve by this time next year?

i'd like for us to be touring ALL over the world.

What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll moment you have had so far?

hard to say...there have been a lot.

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

we have an EP that is available on most online retailers and our website at website

Message to your fans...

we feel extremely fortunate to have so many great fans and friends who continue to show their unwaivering support. I am hopeful that 2006 will be the year that we get to connect with all of our fans in far away places. for those who are new to 5SI, feel free to write us anytime. we PROMISE to write you back.
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